Imperfect Design

Brian Gardner

One thing I’m sure of in life is that nothing is perfect. The problem, however, is that I only believe this to be true 95% of the time.

Every time I sit down and start to design something, I’m left with the 5% hope that what I create will be flawless. And that sets me up for failure.

I get inspired easily, and I’m an idea person. I spend a tremendous amount of my time in creative mode, and while I’m in love with what I do, there’s a downside.

The Comparison Trap

One of my biggest faults is an ongoing battle that I have in my head every time I pick up the paintbrush. I constantly find myself wondering …

“Will my work measure up?”

“What will people think of what I created?”

“Will it be as good as this other designer?”

These are questions that go through my head practically every second of the day. Combine them with my need for approval, and there’s a pretty good chance that at the end of every project, I feel like I didn’t get it right.

It goes without saying that most artists are their own worst critics, and the unrealistic expectations we place upon ourselves are … unrealistic expectations.

Meant to Create

There’s a place for creativity in our lives, and that looks different for every person. Whether it be writing, singing, taking pictures or designing for the web.

There’s nothing wrong with doubting the process — we all do at times. I really love what Emily Freeman says, and I completely agree with her.

I used to think that writers of books took years and years to write out their ideas and only when they had it perfectly figured out did they decide they might like to get it published.

There’s so much truth in that, and I’m pretty sure at one point in our life we’ve said the same kind of thing to ourselves.

I know I have, and the envy that I have for writers is off the charts. It’s the same envy that I have of the elite designers, and even people who write music.


We all have them. And if you’re like me, you have many of them.

One very important thing that I’m learning as an artist is that it’s better to embrace imperfection than to expect perfection.

Because the reality is that nothing is perfect.

Every window has a crack in it. Every tree has a broken branch. Every design has a pixel out of place. Every song has a note sung out of tune.

I’m getting better at believing this, though I admit that it’s difficult at times.

But in the end, I’m doing my best to enjoy what I’m doing — to be satisfied that I’m doing what I love, and what I feel deep in my heart I was meant to do.

… and that alone makes it worth it.